Family Farms the Backbone of Britain – At NSA North Sheep

“Family farming units are the backbone of agriculture.”

Within the region of 7000 people in attendance, at this year’s North Sheep – The National Sheep Association’s, Northern biennial one day event, held at Crimple Head Farm, near Harrogate has been hailed a huge success.  The event, which focused on the future of the Sheep Farming Industry, attracted farmers, academics, industry experts, exhibitors associated businesses and breed societies from throughout the UK.

Across the day, whether in opening speeches or seminars, speaker after speaker emphasised the role farmers in general and sheep farmers in particular, played in British food and the protection of rural life and landscape and how vital these roles were in the protection of everybody’s futures.

In his opening address, the Chairman of the organisers, Adam Watson, referred to the many challenges faced on farms in the last 18 months. In previewing North Sheep, he believed that the event provided “people with a one-stop-shop showing everything that was good about the sheep farming industry – and a great opportunity to focus on the future.”

The Head of Agriculture for Barclays Bank, Martin Redfearn, opened the event and set the tone, saying: “Sheep farming is vital to all parts of the agriculture industry and the strength of that industry is its people”.  He added: “The role of the stockman is almost indescribable – what he or she can see in the pen, shed or field of livestock today, maybe is what any blind fool can see tomorrow. You can improve it from what it is but it has to be there to start with – he or she has to have instinct for livestock.”

Chief Executive of the NSA, Phil Stoker added his belief that farmers “are the foundation of all land management in the country, and that family farming units are the backbone of agriculture.”

That tone of support and optimism for the future was nowhere better made that by Liz Philip, principal, Askham Bryan College, who presented a seminar for young entrants entitled “Opportunities for the Future”. To her “The farming family was the bedrock of British food production.” “Young people,” she added, “can invent the future of farming.” She could see that ahead farming would have the added dimension of greater entrepreneurship. “New entrants are business people who want to farm.”

NSA North Sheep acts as an industry forum and was used as a platform for the British Wool Marketing Board to announce their 2013 wool prices. Farmers saw the latest developments in flock management and healthcare as well as the commercial aspects of their business. The farming industry is facing many important changes and this year’s seminar programme looked in detail at the challenges and opportunities the industry faces in the future.

Hugely popular during the day were the sponsored farm tours. The trip by trailer offered an oversight of the Wilson’s farming enterprises and also offered Yorkshire tasters of real ale and real pork pies and flapjacks from local makers, Kendall’s Butchers and Park View Bakery, of nearby Pateley Bridge.

Crimple Head Farm is run by 3 generations in the name of J M Wilson and Sons. The 1000 acre farm runs flocks of 1000 horned Dalesbred ewes and 300 Masham and 50 Mule ewes along with 30 pure bred Texels and 100 head of breeding cattle.  The Wilson family are very keen supporters of the National Sheep Association and the Sheep industry and David Wilson is himself Chairman of the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association.

David said afterwards how grateful he was to the teams of people who had helped to set up and make the farm smart for the day. “I couldn’t be happier and prouder,” he added. “North Sheep hasn’t been to this county for 10 years, and the event was a triumph and a showcase for Yorkshire farming and produce.”

One of the highlights of the competitive spirit of North Sheep was clearly, on the day, the Shearing competition.  Thought to be rare these days, the crowds flocked to see some of the North of England’s best shearers, with 30 year old Adam Berry of Kendal clipping his way to the trophy.

Winners of the Stockjudging Competitions, sponsored by Carrs Billington Agriculture, were, in the Gents, Cecil Hutchinson, of  East Harle; the Ladies, Margaret Iveson of High Force Farm, Bainbridge; 25 years and under, Eddie Heard; and 18 years and under,  Henry Forsett. Entrants were required to show their keen eye for champion stock by judging four pens with Dalesbred, Teeswater, Mashams and Mules.

The third NSA North Sheep Young Shepherd of the Year Award was made to a neighbour of the Wilson’s at Crimple Head – Josh Ryder of Central House Farm, Haverah Park near Harrogate. Receiving trophy his emphasised that North Sheep is a flagship in farming. “This couldn’t be a better event to win it at, he added.

Josh illustrates and confirms the spirit if the days’ opening speeches. He works at CCM auction and on the 300 acre family home farm where they run 1200 Dalesbred and Swaledale and a small herd of sucklers.

Askham Bryan College sponsored the competition, and the young entrants (all under 26 years) performed five tasks – Stockjudging; lamb selection; shearing two sheep; answering questions on flock management and demonstrating dosing, vaccination and foot trimming skills.  Josh will represent the NSA Northern Region at the final of the UK Young Shepherd of the Year to be held at NSA Sheep 2014, in Malvern, Worcestershire.

The highlight for those who enjoy the end product almost as much as the production was North Sheep’s very own popular version of Ready Steady Cook. The winning chef was is Andrew Atkinson, a lamb buyer of Felliscliffe Harrogate,, who clearly knows as much about preparing lamb as about purchasing it. Sponsored by CCM Auctions and featuring prime local lamb, the Heats involved  the runner up, Ted Ogden from Craven Cattle Marts, Ian Smith from Wharfedale Farmers Mart, and Stephen Maskill, also a lamb buyer. Chefs were on hand from Harrogate College assisting. Celebrity chef Stephanie Moon, and Northumberland’s Frankie Walton did a tremendous job of judging and humorously entertaining the audience.

There was a fantastic showcase of trade stands, winning best indoor stand was Logie Durno Sheep, from Aberdeenshire, Best Outdoor Trade Stand, Ripon Farm Supplies, Wool on the Hoof was won by The North of England Mule, Lleyn Sheep Society.

Speaking yesterday the organiser of NSA North Sheep Julie Sedgewick said: “We were delighted with the high number of visitors that turned out and this demonstrates yet again how the sheep farming industry continues to be such an important part of British agriculture.  We had a record number of trade stands, sheep breed societies and support from sponsors, and I would like to thank them all. Their attendance and support helped us to produce what was a tremendous event.”

For further information on NSA North Sheep 2013 please contact event organiser, Julie Sedgewick on 07836 773888 or visit www.northsheep.org.uk


Media Contact:

Barbara Huddart

Glendale PR

Tel. 01668 283044

Email. barbara@glendalepr.co.uk

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Gecko 4
You can now handle your cattle in safety by yourself thanks to a mobile pen called a Gecko.

Gecko 4

This week sees the launch of a unique cattle-handling system, designed by Northumberland Farmer Nick Hubb specifically to help reduce the risk of death and injury from livestock – which accounts for 10% of all farm fatalities.

This go-anywhere system  – the Gecko CC1 Mobile Cattle Pen has unique angled gates that enfold and grip like the legs of its nocturnal namesake the Gecko.

It is as John Macfarlane of Alnorthumbria Vets says:

“The complete answer to all cattle handling concerns”.

Engineered to offer optimum safety especially during the calving season, the Gecko CC1 Mobile Cattle Pen is a remote-controlled system designed to be used indoors and outdoors by a single operator. Suitable for handling cattle of all sizes and age, some of the operations that the Gecko can be used for include, calving cows, carrying out caesarean section operations, Mobile pen, moving animals and sucking calves. The rear leg restraints enables you to strap the animal’s leg to prevent the operator getting kicked during suckling or other investigatory works.

Designed by a farmer for farmers, it combines a headstock and remotely operated powered gates that control the cow, and minimise the risk from crushing and kicking to the stocks person. The unit is self-sufficient and its hydraulics are electrically powered and recharged by solar energy. Weighing in at just 1660kg, it is easily transported on the front of a loader vehicle or by tractor to anywhere on the farm. You take the Gecko to the problem – not the problem to the pens – which are always in the wrong location.

The system reduces the time factor on each operation and ensures there is no double handling. You can calve safely in the shed by yourself, and tag the calf in safety too. The Cellular Environment means you are always behind the animal or separated by gates. No halter or rope is needed; it is a clean and safe environment, with the cow safely penned and unable get out.  Attached to a loader, and it can then be used to transport the cow and calf out to pasture safely.

Nick Hubb, whose brainchild this is, explains the background to his innovative new cattle handling system

“With 10% of the 436 deaths in agriculture in the last 10 years caused by farm animals, and countless more injuries, most people agree that this is one significant area where safer handing should be a priority.”

“We have completed two years of research and development on prototypes. It has been trialled by people who handle cattle and adjusted with modifications made by our engineers. The final result is a handling system that is easy to use and transport, and reduces stress for the stockperson and the cattle. It is also easy to clean, which helps to minimise biosecurity concerns”

Operating the Gecko in the field couldn’t be simpler. Attach the Gecko to the loader, drive the quad onto the Gecko, and take everything down to cows in the field. Position the Gecko against a fence, open the gates, and take the quad and dog to fetch the cow. Shepherd it into the pen and use the remote control to close the gates. Once the animal is secured the remote controlled hydraulically assisted internal pusher gate pushes and guides the animal into the hydraulically controlled head stock. Alsocontrolled by the hand held remote control.

Commenting on the Gecko system, John Macfarlane of Alnorthumbria Vets who used it to carry out a Caesarean on a cow said: “This is an absolutely marvellous piece of equipment for handling cattle.  It gave me complete access to the cow during the operation and there was also provision for the calf.  Aggressive cows are totally unpredictable and the Gecko alleviates any concerns the cattle handler may have.  One of the major benefits is the ease of handling and transportation of the cow and calf in situ.  I feel it is the complete answer to all cattle handling concerns”.

Nick has worked with many calving cows and gives some further background: “It is suitable for all types of cattle handling, and especially for calving. Continentals are more volatile

than some of the traditional breeds, and of course you just cannot predict the cow’s personality. The machine takes the uncertainty of the cow’s nature out of the equation.”

The Gecko can be seen at the Royal Highland Show at Area – Agri, Avenue D, No 124 and the Company will be on hand to discuss and demonstrate it there. Further details and a video can be seen on the Gecko’s website at http://www.geckohandling.com. If ordered  today, the Gecko can be delivered in 7 weeks to the farm. For more information, contact Nick Hubb on Tel: 01670 590777 or go to their website at www.hubbwayhire.co.uk.


All media contacts to: Barbara Huddart

e: barbara@glendalepr.co.uk

t: 01668 283044 – 07980850394



  1. The  Gecko CC1 is the result, designed and built in the UK at the Gecko headquarters in Northumberland.
  2. Brackets available to securely mount The Gecko to the front of all major makes of arm loaders and tractors.

The UK Health and Safety Executive point out that it is a legal requirement for anyone handling livestock to asses and control the risks involved in handling livestock. The Gecko CC1 system enables you to reduce the risks.

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Craig is H&H Bake-Off Champion

Craig Brough has won the Great H&H Bake-Off competition. Craig, who works for H&H Land and Property in Carlisle, clinched his vicinity with a delicious chocolate crispy in the shape of a double H, topped out with whipped cream and fruit.

The final of the competition took place in the kitchens of Carlisle College, with six contestants battling it to produce an afternoon tea to remember! Organised by the company as a staff development experience, the competition was designed to get members of the group talking to each other, across the Cumbria-based group’s companies.

Fiona Cumming, who also works for H&H Land and Property, was runner up. Other finalists were Vienna Bowe, Lynn Davidson and Kathryn Cavers from Harrison & Hetherington, and Emily Magnay of H&H Borderway Finance.

Craig was delighted with the result and commenting afterwards he said: “This was one of the most   physically and mentally demanding competitions that I have ever entered and I am absolutely delighted to win. Everyone who entered I know, had great fun and it was a fantastic way to meet and get to know staff from other companies within the H&H Group.”

Based on the popular BBC TV show, H&H’s competition fostered links and friendships across Cumbria. It produced some memorable baking, with 16 contestants from across the company’s eight divisions flexing their culinary skills.  In a series of heats designed to identify the group’s best baker, entrants who included surveyors, secretaries and the CEO of the company confirmed their talents with the wooden spoon baking scones, sponges, and signature bakes.

The catering facilities at Carlisle College hosted the entire competition, and were provided as part of the College’s policy of working closely with local business. Its principle, Moira Tattersall, OBE also helped judge the standards of the entries. Prizes for the event were donated by The Pampered Chef Company and The Aga Shop, Carlisle, with Pioneer Foods sponsoring the ingredients.  A Cookbook featuring competitors’ signature bakes will be printed by H&H Reeds Printers, with 50% of the sale proceeds donated to the Carlisle College Student Crisis Fund.

Brian Richardson, Chief Executive of H&H, commenting after the event, said: “The Great H&H Bake off has been very well supported.  The entrants, judges and spectators have all thoroughly enjoyed the completion which has created a real buzz within the company. Some people had never baked before; some people had baked all of their lives. Experienced or not, the standard throughout was phenomenal with a huge amount of time and effort put in by everyone. After two heats, and a semi-final the competition culminated on Thursday 27 July with a Grand Finale with competitors having to make an H&H themed show stopper bake and various afternoon tea bakes.  Well done to everyone who entered and of course those who made it through to the final.”

Although light-hearted in spirit, the competition was taken very seriously. The judges included Gillian Potts, Chair of Cumberland Show Committee, Moira Tattersall, OBE – Principal of Carlisle College, Elaine Price – Vice Principal of Carlisle College, Andy Stacey, Chef Lecturer of Carlisle College Catering Department and Dawn Harrison non-executive director H&H Group, who commenting afterwards on behalf of the judges said:

“The H&H bake-off was a fantastic competition and a real challenge for us all to judge. The finalists really were working under pressure to a tight brief and time deadlines. We are all very impressed with the Show-stoppers which all captured an aspect of H&H and for me personally one of the highlights was the tasting – the petit fours were particularly delicious!”

The competition was put together and organised by Deborah Popham, Personal Assistant to the CEO, Ken Herd of H&H Insurance Brokers, Amy Johnson of Harrison & Hetherington Café and Jacq Longrigg IES Manager at Carlisle College.


All Media Enquiries to Barbara Huddart – Glendale PR – barbara@glendalepr.co.uk 01668 283 044 – 07980 850 394

Note for Editors:

The H&H Group is an unquoted plc with an excess of 1,000 shareholders and a heritage going back over 140 years.

H&H Group plc was founded originally as farmstock auctioneers.  The group operates as a holding company with its eight successful operating companies encompassing Livestock Auctioneers, Brokers and Valuers, Auction Rooms, Commercial Printers, Chartered Surveyors, Insurance Brokers and Vehicle Finance Specialists, Estate Agents, Motor Auctioneers. The strength and support of the Group helps to assure customers of the best in local service, support and knowledge.

For further information contact:

Brian Richardson, Chief Executive

H&H Group plc, Borderway, Rosehill, Carlisle, CA1 2RS

T: 01228 406330

E: brian.richardson@hhgroupplc.co.uk

W: www.hhgroupplc.co.uk





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Flour Power at Glendale Children’s Countryside Day

Flour Power at Glendale Children’s Countryside Day  



Earlier today, 1700 children from 40 schools from across Northumberland and the north of England learnt first-hand, exactly where their food comes from.

On this unique day, children learnt about all aspects of farming and the countryside. This year there was a special focus on the arable industry and a dedicated marquee all about the power of Flour.  Also new for this year was a mini mixed farm, demonstrating to children the diversity of the countryside and a working farm.

Each of the schools brought with them a branded packet of their own home made biscuits. They have had to research local produce, create a recipe, cost, package and brand. The children demonstrated that they are true young apprentices and Judge Mrs Burston was certainly challenged in choosing the overall winner. After much consideration, tasting and debate, The Hugh Joicey Church of England First School scooped first prize.

The menu of activities during the day for children was extensive and diverse. They saw how the sheep are auctioned, sheared and butchered, they plucked chickens, Lion coded eggs, learnt that milk was not from a bottle and the cheese was made from the milk. The countryside is not just about food, it is there to enjoy and be cared for so the children learnt about wildlife, the role for the countryside and environmental management.

Commenting afterwards Chair of the Countryside Day Committee, Hannah Hubb:  “We have all had the most fantastic day, the sun shone and the huge field was full of smiling faces. But the Children’s Country Day, is an event that has a very serious mission. Our aim as an organisation is to re-engage children with the origins of food and the ways of the countryside.”

1016069_639823059361936_1013198277_n“A recent survey by the British Nutrition Foundation found that 29% of primary aged children thought that cheese came from plants.  So, I do very much hope that the children who attended today will have a much fuller understanding of where their food comes from and that 100% of the children went home knowing that cheese if very definitely made from milk.”

The Glendale area is one of the foremost grain producing areas in the UK and the children aged between 5 and 9 met the farmers, saw the machinery, ground the wheat and learnt that cereals make their bread, cakes, pasta, rapeseed oil and many other stable items.   Berwick based Silvery Tweed Cereals, who attended for the first time, brought along samples of wheat, barley, processed grains, flakes and flour.  They also provided different ingredients so that children could blend their own muesli which proved very popular.

Robert Gladstone, Managing Director, commenting afterwards on the role a day such as this plays in children’s education said: “It was a highly rewarding day in which I felt the children were very engaged about the importance of food and especially breakfast to start the day which was good to hear. I think they especially enjoyed the hands on approach of being able to touch and feel the raw products. The whole day I felt was hugely successful and very well organised to cover such a wide range of agricultural related activities.  We should also acknowledge the work the Glendale Committee has undertaken to run such a fantastic event; Silvery Tweed will definitely be back next year.

Since the first Countryside Day, nine years ago, The Glendale Agricultural Society have educated over 20,000 children. The Society, which is based in Wooler in North Northumberland, invites schools from both urban and rural schools to attend. The Children’s Education Day is one of the leading days of its kind in the UK and for most of the children is a highlight in their educational calendar.

The day is organised by a small volunteer committee with one part-time member of staff and it is a real community event. All the 60 exhibitors and stewards (approximately 250 individuals) give their time free, and enjoy it along with the children. Local businesses who attended did so because they are passionate and teaching children and food production.

To conclude Ruth Oldfield Event Manager for this her first Children’s Countryside Day said:  “The Children’s Countryside Day is for invited schools only and is only possible with the support of the exhibitors, the volunteers, the sponsors and funders. Without their support this event would never have happened and there would be thousands of children across Northumberland and Tyneside who would not have benefited from this unique classroom in the Countryside.”

Further information about Glendale Agricultural Society and the Children’s Countryside Day can be found on www.glendaleshow.com.

–          ENDS     –

Media Contact

Barbara Huddart

E: barbara@glendalepr.co.uk T: 01668 283 044

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New Chimney System is Absolut Winner


New Chimney System is Absolut Winner

The Absolut chimney system, designed to deal with the demands of new fuels and modern building techniques, is launched this week.  The system is available through the UK’s largest manufacturer of Chimney Systems, Schiedel Chimney Systems Ltd., which is based in Washington in the North East.

The system has been designed from the outset to deal with modern heating technologies. Low flue gas temperatures from energy efficient appliances lead to condensates forming inside the chimney. At the same time as dealing with low temperature problems, flues must also be capable of withstanding a chimney fire.  Absolut has also been designed to function in the airtight environment of the modern home, which means that the normal drafts which a fire depends on are effectively prevented. It also minimises the transmission of heat to the outside through the chimney structure itself.

David Wright, Schiedel Systems Marketing Manager explains, “The system the first of its kind to bring together solutions to all the major challenges of providing efficient heating in a modern home. It is designed to be installed as part of a newly constructed building, and to handle all types of fuel effectively.”

Condensation caused by the cool outer layer of a chimney can lead to damp spots, mould and health issues. The Absolut system employs a core of foam concrete as insulation that insure internal block surface temperatures remain above the critical dew point. The internal profiled liner has been designed to avoid condensates forming, as well as being corrosion resistant to the gasses produced by gas, oil and solid fuel installations. It is also chimney fire resistant, and continues to function properly, even after a soot fire.

The chimney structure contains an internal air shaft that brings an air supply direct to the fire. It also incorporates insulating blocks in the structure that prevent warmth held in the chimney being transmitted through the roof to the outside.

David adds, “A chimney should not just be a bolt on afterthought when you are building a new home. If you take time to consider the efficiency of other parts of the structure it makes sense to spend time getting this right too. The heating of a home is at the heart of if its function, and it is a very dynamic part of the building. Absolut answers these needs.”

As the UK’s leading manufacturer of Stainless Steel Chimney systems, Schiedel Rite-Vent has 45 years experience of manufacturing Stainless Steel chimneys, liners and accessories from their plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

For further details on SCHIEDEL ABSOLUT and all other complimentary products and services please visit:  www.schiedel.co.uk  – or contact David Wright at Schiedel on 0191 416 1150.


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